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Fundamentals of Fashion and Design Problem Solution Essay


Abstract

This report outlines how Jimmy Choo, which is an emerging firm in the UK fashion industry, can strengthen its competitive advantage. The report focuses on the strategies that the firm’s management team should take into account.

Some of the strategies evaluated relate to investment in information communication technology (ICT). The main technologies cited include those that support marketing communication and e-commerce.

The report affirms that it is essential for Jimmy Choo to integrate social networking platforms in its marketing communication.

Moreover, the firm should also consider investing in e-commerce and mobile commerce in order to understand the consumers’ needs and create a unique customer experience.

The firm should also consider collaborating with other retailers and venturing into emerging markets. Effective formulation and integration of these strategies will improve the firm’s brand and hence its competitiveness in the global fashion industry.

Introduction

Background

The UK fashion industry ranks amongst the most popular fashion industries across the world. A significant number of celebrities and ordinary people consume products designed and manufactured by renowned fashion houses in the UK.

The industry’s development over the past decade has emanated from increased spending on fashion products. For example, consumer spending during the period ranging between 1999 and 2009 grew with a margin of 3.3% (British Fashion Council, 2009).

The industry is very attractive, and thus it draws a large number of local and international fashion brands. Currently, Mark & Spencer is the market leader. However, this firm faces intense competition from large discount fashion houses such as Arcadia, Next, TK Maxx, and Primark.

Another major trend shaping the industry relates to the fact that the UK textile manufacturers are shifting to production of luxury and specialist fashion clothes.

Moreover, the consumers’ tastes and preferences with regard to fashion products are changing drastically. This aspect highlights the importance of firms to ensure that their brands align with market changes.

Company profile

Jimmy Choo Limited is a private limited company that operates in the UK consumer goods industry. The firm was established in 1996 in London as a subsidiary of the Labelux Group. The firm deals with designer bags, clothes, and footwear.

The firm also deals with various accessories such as belts, wallets, sunglasses, scarves, and other small accessories. In an effort to maximise its profits, the fashion house has diversified its product offering into both the male and female gender products.

Rationale and objective of the study

Despite its attractiveness, the UK fashion industry faces a number of threats. One of the challenges relates to increment in the intensity of competition within the industry.

Moreover, the industry has been affected greatly by economic stagnation that occurred in the past few years because of the 2008 global financial crisis and the recent Eurozone debt crisis.

Consequently, most consumers in the UK are experiencing uncertainty with regard to the region’s economic future. For example, consumer spending on fashion products has declined remarkably.

However, it is expected that the industry will recover, but at a slow pace as the consumers’ confidence increases (Verdict, 2013).

Surviving in such an environment will require firms in the industry to devise the most effective mechanisms that they can integrate in order to reinvigorate their brand.

This paper evaluates the strategies that Jimmy Choo fashion house should integrate in order to enhance its competitiveness within the local and global fashion industry.

Reinvigorating the Jimmy Choo brand

Jimmy Choo limited management team should consider the most effective strategies to integrate in order to develop sufficient competitiveness. Some of the marketing management practices that the firm should take into account are evaluated herein.

Investing in technology

Marketing communication

Value creation is one of the fundamental aspects in organisation’s pursuit for competitive advantage. Consequently, Jimmy Choo fashion house should focus on how to deliver value to customers by developing a strong brand.

However, this goal is only achievable if the firm develops sufficient understanding of the customers’ needs and expectations, which underscores the importance of integrating an effective information system.

Jimmy Choo should design a database that it can use to understand the customers’ perception and opinion regarding the firm and its products. Currently, ICT has led to significant transformation with regard to marketing communication.

Therefore, it is essential for the firm to invest in emerging marketing communication mediums such as the social media. The 21st century has been characterised by the emergence of various social media platforms that organisations can utilise in creating market awareness.

Consequently, the firm should proactively consider how best it could utilise social networks in its marketing communication. Some of the social networking platforms that the firm should take into account include MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Wikis, Blogs, and LinkedIn.

Incorporating social media in its marketing communication will enable Jimmy Choo to develop its brand. Brodie et al. (2011) are of the opinion that sophisticated information communication technologies have facilitated the development of online communities.

Individual consumers who are a part of the online communities share their opinion and perception regarding a particular brand. Therefore, investing in such platforms will give the firm insight on the consumers’ behaviour.

Moreover, the firm will be in a position to influence the consumers in their decision-making process. Brodie et al. (2011) posit that social media has completely changed how organisations communicate with their customers by providing a platform for a two-way system of communication.

Conventional methods of marketing communication were mainly one way. Incorporating social media in its marketing communication processes will enhance its ability to develop a strong relationship with customers hence improving the level of customer loyalty.

In a bid to benefit from social media in improving its brand, Jimmy Choo should consider cultivating effective brand ambassadors.

Funk (2011) emphasises, “One secret to building a strong online community is to cultivate a small core group of influential evangelists, and then let them help you spread the word to a large audience” (p.120).

Effective selection of the online ambassadors can give a brand a ‘halo effect’, hence enhancing the growth of the brand amongst the online community.

E-commerce and mobile commerce

In addition to marketing communication, the firm’s management team should also consider improving its marketing capability by investing in e-commerce. E-commerce has undergone a remarkable growth in the UK.

Currently, the fashion market ranks as one of the fastest and the largest growing online markets in the European region. Most consumers are utilising the Internet in their buying process. However, most markets are not mature.

Jimmy Choo should consider improving its brand image by providing customers with a unique shopping experience. The firm should consider expanding its e-commerce portfolio with well-established e-commerce platforms in the country.

For example, the firm can collaborate with leading digital fashion magazines such as Elle and Vogue.

Jimmy Choo should consider investing in a mobile application through which customers can interact with the firm. Customers are increasingly demanding for a unique experience in their shopping processes.

It is estimated that over 85% of consumers access the internet in an effort to search for product and service information through their mobile devices. Moreover, consumers expect organisations to present them with an opportunity whereby they can shop anywhere and at any time (Verdict, 2013).

The UK leads with regard to the utilisation of mobile commerce. The growth of mobile commerce in the UK has been motivated by the emergence of smartphones and tablets such as iPads.

Therefore, it is critical for Jimmy Choo to consider developing an effective mobile commerce solution that is specifically designed to connect the consumers with the firm.

Considering the diverse mobile applications that have been developed, Jimmy Choo should consider developing individual applications that are aligned with the various platforms. Integrating mobile commerce will influence the consumers by developing a sense of convenience.

Moreover, the firm will be in a position to understand consumers’ needs and expectations. Through such understanding, it is possible for Jimmy Choo to profile its customers and market appropriate fashion products effectively.

According to Apparel Insiders (2013), online retailing has remarkably transformed the fashion industry. Fashion consumers are increasingly adopting online shopping due to the prevailing economic situation in the European region.

Consumers are being enticed to spend more through online shopping by various reasons. For example, Apparel Insiders (2013) asserts, “Some shoppers are using online shopping as a reward system for hard work or making it through a difficult month” (Para. 20).

The high rate of Internet connectivity has provided consumers with an opportunity to understand fashion trends at the comfort of their homes. Therefore, it is imperative for the firm to consider how it can exploit the change in consumer behaviour.

When implementing the new e-commerce technology, it is imperative for the firm to ensure that customers receive seamless shopping experience, which will significantly improve the firm’s ranking in a highly competitive e-commerce market.

Crowdsourcing

Jimmy Choo should appreciate that consumers are increasingly becoming empowered due to the emergence of the digital age, which has made information readily available. Consequently, the firm should consider how it could effectively adapt to the consumers’ demands.

The firm should focus on how to personalise its brand by providing consumers with an opportunity to determine what the firm should offer.

One of the emerging trends in the UK fashion industry is that consumers are shopping to suit their own individuality, which represents a major shift from the conventional shopping trends whereby fashion was determined by seasons.

Currently, consumers’ wardrobe is considered an extension of their personality (Brodock, 2013). Thus, it is imperative for fashion houses to develop a comprehensive understanding of their customers’ behaviour.

In a bid to understand the customers’ needs sufficiently, Jimmy Choo should consider investing in database marketing. The firm should develop and implement a database in which it stores its customer information.

Such a database will enable the firm to understand the customers’ purchasing patterns. Thus, the information can be utilised in formulating marketing strategies that align with the customers’ needs.

Moreover, the information gathered from the database can be used in designing fashion products that align with the consumers’ individual style.

Thus, database marketing will enable Jimmy Choo to get closer to its customers, hence enhancing its ability to align its brand with the customers’ needs and expectations. Moreover, the firm’s brand should enable customers to stand out of the crowd by reflecting their individualism (Brodock, 2013).

Integrating a customer-driven business model will improve the effectiveness with which the firm meets the customers’ expectations and demands. Moreover, adopting such a model means that the firm will not be reactive in its production processes.

Consequently, the firm’s production processes will not be based on a seasonal model, but on customer empowerment.

Moreover, crowdsourcing opinions will enable Jimmy Choo to produce in-demand fashion products, hence eliminating the risk of designing products that are out of demand through guesswork (Brodock, 2013).

Collaboration

Considering the competitive nature of the UK market, it is important for Jimmy Choo’s management team to consider collaborating with well-established fashion houses. Such collaboration will enable the firm to develop its competitive advantage.

However, the firm should not only focus on collaborating with other firms in the fashion industry but should also include other retailers. For example, Jimmy Choo should consider collaborating with well-established supermarket chains that stock fashion clothes.

Through such collaborations, the firm will be in a position to establish its market presence in the UK. For example, such a partnership will enable the firm to host fashion shows, which attracts numerous fashion lovers.

Topshop is one of the renowned facilitators of fashion designers in the UK. The firm finances fashion shows by collaborating with emerging talents. Consequently, Jimmy Choo should consider collaborating with such firms.

Through such collaborations, the firm will be in a position to create awareness regarding its products and services to a large number of fashion lovers. Collaborating with renowned fashion designers will improve the firm’s brand recognition.

According to Pulgarin (2013), fashion changes drastically while new trends emerge at a blinding rate. Therefore, it is critical for Jimmy Choo to ensure that its products move very fast, which is only achievable if the firm collaborates with various fashion retailers in its marketing processes.

Some of the retailers that the firm can consider include well-established firms that deal with apparels and footwear products. Moreover, the firm should increase the number of retailers carrying its fashion products.

Therefore, such partnerships will play a critical role in determining an organisation’s ability to adjust to market changes and hence its long term survival capability.

Venturing into emerging markets

As mentioned above, the fashion industry in the UK is very competitive, which poses a major threat to emerging firms.

Despite this aspect, Jimmy Choo is committed to achieving optimal business performance. In a bid to achieve its financial objectives, Jimmy Choo should consider expanding its operations into the emerging markets.

Some of the emerging markets that the firm should consider include India, Singapore, Russia, the UAE, South Africa, and Brazil. India, the UAE, and South Africa rank amongst the fashion markets that are experiencing a high rate of growth as evidenced by the numerous fashion events held in the past.

Most emerging markets are characterised by key growth drivers. For example, in Russia, there has been a significant growth in demand for luxury apparels. The country has the third-largest concentration of billionaires after Germany and the United States.

Moreover, Russians are amongst the greatest consumers of luxury goods in the European region, which has led to an increment in fashion products demand in the country. On the other hand, Brazil’s luxury market is experiencing an extraordinary growth.

For example, a report released in 2009 by Grail Research shows that the Brazilian fashion industry would grow at a rate of 35% in the next five years, which represents the highest growth rate experienced in the fashion industry around the world (Grail Research, 2009).

Mode of market entry

The success of an organisation in the international market is greatly influenced by the mode of entry selected (Doole & Lowe, 2008). Jimmy Choo can consider various modes of entry to exploit the opportunities presented in these markets.

However, the firm should adopt optimal internationalisation strategy. Some of the most common modes of entry adopted by organisations include exportation, establishment of mergers and acquisitions, and foreign direct investment.

Considering that Jimmy Choo is a new entrant into the emerging markets identified, it is important for the firm to adopt the exportation strategy.

In its initial phase, Jimmy Choo should consider contracting the services of renowned Export Management Companies [EMCs] established in its target market. According to Doole and Lowe (2008), EMCs are specialised firms that are established to operate as export departments.

The firms assist companies entering a foreign market to establish and maintain international sales by providing the foreign firms with sufficient information about a foreign market. By utilising the services of EMCs, Jimmy Choo will be in a position to gain footing in the emerging markets.

The firm’s management team should also consider establishing retail stores in the emerging markets identified. This strategy will provide the firm with an opportunity to exert sufficient control with regard to various marketing practices.

For example, the firm will be in a position to control the marketing mix strategies adopted, such as pricing. Consequently, the likelihood of the firm influencing the market is high.

Adopting direct exportation strategy will also provide the firm with an opportunity to obtain sufficient market feedback with regard to its market performance. Consequently, Jimmy Choo will be in a position to adjust its marketing practices accordingly.

By selecting optimal mode of entry, the firm will be in a position to improve its brand competitiveness in the foreign market.

Conclusion

The report cites Jimmy Choo as one of the emerging fashion houses in the UK. However, the UK fashion industry is very dynamic and challenging, as evidenced by the intensity of competition and change in consumer behaviour.

Despite these market dynamics, Jimmy Choo has an obligation to achieve its financial objectives. Thus, the firm has to focus on how to improve its business performance. The report highlights reinvigorating the firm’s brand as one of the avenues through which it can improve its brand image.

One of the strategies that the firm can consider includes investing in technology. The 21st century has been characterised by the emergence of various information communication technologies that businesses can adopt in their operations.

In a bid to establish its brand in the local and the international market, Jimmy Choo should integrate ICT in its marketing communication. The firm should adopt various ICT technologies such as social networking platforms.

Adopting such technologies will improve the effectiveness with which the firm creates awareness with the customers. Moreover, interaction through social media platforms will enable the firm to develop a strong relationship with its customers.

In addition to marketing communication, Jimmy Choo should incorporate ICT in its marketing processes. E-commerce will enable the firm to deliver value to customers by developing a high level of convenience in their shopping processes.

For example, adopting mobile commerce will enhance the firm’s ability to create a unique experience amongst consumers in their shopping processes. Furthermore, Jimmy Choo should consider adopting the concept of database marketing.

Through this strategy, the firm will be in a position to design and develop fashion products that align with the customers’ needs and expectations.

In a bid to improve its competitive advantage, Jimmy Choo should consider adopting other strategies such as collaborating with other partners and expanding its operations into the emerging markets with reference to luxury products.

Some of these markets include the UAE, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Russia.

Recommendation

This report shows that Jimmy Choo can strength its brand by integrating the above strategies in its marketing processes. However, to reinvigorate its brand successfully, Jimmy Choo should consider the following.

  1. The firm should utilise the market feedback obtained through various digital mediums such as social media to develop and design its fashion products. Moreover, the firm’s product improvement processes should be based on the market feedback. Consequently, the firm should transform its business model from one that is based on seasons to a model that is dictated by the consumers’ needs and expectations. As a result, the firm will be capable of personalising its fashion products.
  2. The firm should also consider improving its customer relationship management by investing in emerging information communication technologies. Some of the technologies that the firm should consider include investing in database marketing and developing a customised mobile application. Moreover, Jimmy Choo should consider enhancing its marketing communication using various social media networks. Integrating these technologies will improve the likelihood of the firm developing a strong customer base.
  3. Prior to entering the emerging markets identified, Jimmy Choo should conduct a comprehensive analysis of the target market, which will enable the firm to adopt effective mode of entry and to implement marketing strategies that align with the prevailing market conditions.

Reference List

Apparel Insiders. (2013). The eurozone crisis and UK fashion. Web.

British Fashion Council. (2009). The value of the UK fashion industry. Web.

Brodie, R., Ilic, A., Juric, B., & Hollebeek, L. (2011).Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Business Research, 30(1),1-10.

Brodock, K. (2013). . Web.

Doole, I., & Lowe, R. (2008). International marketing strategy: analysis, development and implementation. London: Cengage Learning.

Funk, T. (2011). Social media playbook for business: reaching your online community with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Grail Research. (2009). Global fashion industry: Study overview. Web.

Pulgarin, L. (2013). Collaborations to shake the fashion industry. Web.

Verdict. (2013). How the UK will shop. Web.

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